Department of English

Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University

2202441  British Fiction from the Twentieth Century to the Present


Puckpan Tipayamontri

Office: BRK 1106

Office Hours: M 13 and by appointment

Phone: 0 2218 4703


TTh 2:30–4:00 (BRK 311 and online [March 17–May 7)


Tentative Schedule

*An asterisk in front of an item indicates required syllabus reading. Others are recommended reading.

Week 1

Jan. 7

1: Transatlantic Interconnections


  • *Ford Madox Ford, "Dedicatory Letter to Stella Ford," Introduction, The Good Soldier (1927)
  • David Stuart Davies, Short History of the Ghost Story, Wordsworth Editions
    • "Bumps in the Night," Part One of David Stuart Davies' History of the Ghost Story
    • "Ho Ho Ho—Boo!," David Stuart Davies Looks at the Tradition of Ghost Stories at Christmas
    • "Bumps in the Night," David Stuart Davies Concludes His Short History of the Ghost Story
Discussion: Prior texts; international influences in the development of British fiction at the turn of the century; impact of British fiction across the globe; defining and contesting Britishness; changing ideas about fiction; making way for the modernists; rise of the literary craft and criticism; developing genres and subgenres; popular and "serious" fiction

Jan. 9

2: 1910s


  • *W. Somerset Maugham, Preface, The Complete Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham, vol. 2: The World Over (1952)
  • W. Somerset Maugham, Preface, Cosmopolitans (1936)
  • *W. Somerset Maugham, "Louise" (1925)
  • James Wood, Introduction, The Heart of the Matter, by Graham Greene (2004)
  • "Votes for Women," British Library (2018)
Discussion: Roles and views of women during the 1910s; WWI effects on gender roles and rights; author-reader relationship; publishing industry
Introduction to "Louise": In groups of four students, "introduce" Maugham's short story "Louise" in the manner of Wood's analysis of the first chapter of Greene's The Heart of the Matter.
Week 2
Jan. 14 No class (Intervarsity Games: January 13–17, 2020)
Jan. 16 No class (Intervarsity Games: January 13–17, 2020)

Week 3

Jan. 21

3: 1920s: Experiments


Discussion: Competing fields and forms for fiction ex. science, art, film; emergence of modern fiction

Jan. 23

4: 1930s


Discussion: Voices; representing war; O'Connor and the short story

Week 4

Jan. 28

5: 1940s: Engagements


Jan. 30

6: 1940s


  • *George Orwell, Animal Farm (1945; study guide)
  • George Orwell, Preface to the Ukrainian edition of Animal Farm (1947)
Discussion: Orwell's art of political writing

Inside the 1940s: Phichayapa

Week 5

Feb. 4

7: 1940s: Renaming


Inside the 1940s: Raiwin

Feb. 6

8: 1940s


Inside the 1950s: Piengfa

Week 6

Feb. 11

9: 1950s: Questioning


Inside the 1950s: Tanchita

Feb. 13

10: 1960s


Inside the 1960s:
  • Intukorn
  • Panuwat

Week 7

Feb. 18

11: 1970s: Diversity


  • *Philip Tew, "Contemporary Britishness," The Contemporary British Novel (2007)
  • *Bruce Chatwin, On the Black Hill (1982) chapters 26–42 (pp. 136–219)
Inside the 1970s: Phitchayawi

Feb. 20

12: 1970s
  • *Bruce Chatwin, On the Black Hill (1982) chapters 43–50 (pp. 220–62)
  • *Angela Carter, "The Snow Child," The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (1979)
Inside the 1970s: Chollada

Week 8

Feb. 25

13: 1980s: Reclaiming the World


  • *Bridget Chalk, "The 1980s," The Cambridge Companion to British Fiction: 1980–2018 (2019)
  • *Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, "The Language of African Literature," Decolonizing the Mind (1981)
  • *Salman Rushdie, "The Perforated Sheet" and "Mercurochrome," Midnight's Children (1980)
Discussion: Postcolonial sensibilities; implications of the English language; owning languages
Inside the 1980s:
  • Onjira
  • Tanyamon

Feb. 27

14: 1980s and Review


  • *Anita Desai, Introduction, Midnight's Children (1995)
  • *Salman Rushdie, "The Perforated Sheet" and "Mercurochrome," Midnight's Children (1980)
  • *Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins, Watchmen (1986) chapter 1
    • Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen Annotated, edited by Leslie S. Klinger (2017) chapter 1
  • Chernobyl, directed by Johan Renck, HBO (2019 TV mini-series)
Discussion: The rise of graphic novels

Inside the Times:
  • 1900s: Narumol
  • 1910s: Natthaporn
  • 1920s: Sasina
  • 1930s: Romrawin

Week 9

Mar. 3

No class (Midterm week: March 2–6, 2020) 

Mar. 5

Midterm Test (Midterm week: March 2–6, 2020)

(15 minutes for thought and planning and 1 hour for writing) This is an open-book essay-type test. It starts at 2:30 and ends at 3:45 p.m. You can work on it anywhere you like. There are two options for receiving the prompt and handing in your response:

  • Digital: The prompt will be posted on the announcements section of our course page as well as e-mailed to you. (Make sure I have your e-mail address if you choose this option.) E-mail back your writing when done. There is a grace period of five minutes for your mail to reach my inbox (3:45–3:50 p.m.).
  • Paper: In our usual classroom (BRK 304) you will be given a paper prompt and a booklet for your response. Hand in the booklet within 3:45 p.m. in the same room.
Review and Practice Test Review and practice test

Week 10

Mar. 10

15: 1990s


Inside the 1990s: Puthita

Mar. 12

16: 1990s


  • *Pieter Vermeulen, "The 1990s," The Cambridge Companion to British Fiction: 1980–2018 (2019)
  • *A. S. Byatt, Possession (1990) chapters 1 and 2
Inside the 1990s: Sukapinya

Week 11

Mar. 17

17: 2000s: Destabilizing


  • *Leigh Wilson, "Post-Millennial Literature," The Cambridge Companion to British Fiction: 1980–2018 (2019)
  • *Ali Smith, Girl Meets Boy (2007) part I (pp. 1–45)
Inside the 2000s: Pasit


Mar. 19

18: 2000s: Constructive Disruption


  • *Ali Smith, Girl Meets Boy (2007) part You (pp. 49–77)
Inside the 2000s: Pattanun

Week 12

Mar. 24

19: 2000s: The Meaning of Things

  • *Ali Smith, Girl Meets Boy (2007) parts Us and Them (pp. 81–146)

Mar. 26

20: 2000s: The Symbols and Symbolism of Meetings


  • *Ali Smith, Girl Meets Boy (2007) part All Together Now (pp. 149–61)

Week 13

Mar. 31

21: Early 2010s


  • *Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending (2011; study guide)
Inside the 2010s: Niramit


Apr. 2

22: Early 2010s


  • *Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending (2011; study guide)

Week 14

Apr. 7

23: Early 2010s

  • *Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending (2011; study guide)
Reading response due (Respond to a study question on The Sense of an Ending and post it on Roundtable Conversation.)

Apr. 9

24: Early 2010s: Domestic Astonishment


Discussion: Literary visibility (ex. awards, best-of collections, big-name publishers, major chain bookstores and online sellers); cultural translation; contemporary publishing cultures and processes; independent press; Irish domestic realism; father-son relationship

Week 15

Apr. 14

No class (Songkran)

Apr. 16

25: Late 2010s: Disruption and Continuation


  • *Aminatta Forna, Happiness (2018) "The Last Wolf" to chapter 7 (pp. 1–112)
Discussion: What is post-race?; decentralizing Britain

Inside the 2010s: Panas

Week 16

Apr. 21

26: Late 2010s: Narrative Structure and Meaning

  • *Aminatta Forna, Happiness (2018) chapters 8–11 (pp. 113–184)
  • *Maxine Sinclair, "Falling on Deaf Ears," The Limping Chicken (2016)
Discussion: Approaches to narrative structure

Apr. 23

27: Late 2010s: Beyond the Human

  • *Aminatta Forna, Happiness (2018) chapters 12–14 (pp. 185–232)
  • George Monbiot, "In Defense of Speciesism," The Guardian (2020)
Discussion: The urban wild

Week 17

Apr. 28

28: Late 2010s: Literature and Digital Technology

Discussion: Digital culture; technology and fiction; cybernetic novels and full AI novels; treatments of social media

Apr. 30

29: Late 2010s: Habitat for Literature


  • *Aminatta Forna, Happiness (2018) chapters 21–24 (pp. 287–309)
  • Katie Paterson, Future Library (2014–2114 artwork)
Discussion: The evolution of British fiction, British authors and Britishness; the ecology of fictional creation; reception; critical possibilities

Week 18 May 7 Final Exam
(1–4 p.m.; open-book)  The final exam covers material in the latter half of the semester.
  • Review and practice final Practice final
  • Final exam 441 final exam
Week 19 May 14 Final paper due (5–7 pp.)



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Last updated May 7, 2020